Coalition Report

Melissa Vatterott,
Food and Farm Coordinator, Missouri Coalition for the Environment

Increasing Opportunities for Local Food Production in St. Louis

During the week of August 8th – 13th, the nation celebrated National Farmers Market Week. Farmers markets are a great resource for supporting local farmers and providing communities with access to locally grown food. When you buy from small, local farms you are supporting your local economy, getting to know and trust the people growing your food, and supporting a business that is environmentally and socially responsible. While many of the farmers at our local farmers markets travel 20 or more miles to the market, there are many individuals in the City of St. Louis growing and selling local food, and many more that are interested in doing so.

In the summer of 2015, the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, under the coordination of MCE, proposed an ordinance to allow more agriculture in the City. The ordinance was the fruit of input from current growers, local food enthusiasts, and those with a genuine desire to expand food production in the City. The first proposal would have allowed more animal agriculture in the city. The current city ordinance only allows for four total animals per city lot, which is very restricting and hard to comply with if anyone wants to raise chickens and have pets. The public safety committee enthusiastically voted in support of the bill, sending it to the board of aldermen, where the board debated the bill for over two hours. While this bill ultimately did not pass, the issue of urban agriculture is on the minds of city leaders and their residents.

STLFPC is now working on a new urban agriculture initiative and we want your input! With this new initiative, we are surveying City of St. Louis residents about 1) what they and their neighbors are already growing, 2) what types of agriculture activities they would like to see in the city, and 3) how they would like those activities to be regulated. We will use this feedback to draft a new bill that addresses the needs, desires, and concerns of residents about urban agriculture!

To let us know what you think about urban agriculture, please take our survey available at: www.moenvironment.org/urbanagsurvey.